Friday’s Five Books: Recommendations from Cherie

Posted July 22, 2011 by in Friday's Five Books / 1 Comment

Friday's Five Books*Friday’s Five Books is a bi-weekly post on Between the Covers that highlights book recommendations from the reading community.

CherieHola, bibliophiles!  I’m Cherie, a self-proclaimed book addict.  I’ve loved the written word since I was very small.  One of my earliest memories of mother-daughter fights in my household was her unscrewing all the light bulbs in my room so that I couldn’t read all night.  Now that I’m all grown up, I’m a literacy educator living in Huntsville, AL.  Ask me about my Freedom School!

I found it nearly impossible to pick five “favorite” books, so I’m just going to pick five that I can recommend.  My tastes are colored by a pretty wide spectrum, so my selections pull from a few different genres.  Alright.  Into the fray, darlings!

The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak, The Book Thief

Although I discovered it through a Young Adult Fiction reading list for some of my students, it captured my attention in a way that many “real adult” books never could.  It’s very difficult to talk about a book like this without making terrible comparisons.  Although it does deal with the Holocaust, it is much more than a modern Diary of Anne Frank.  Zusak breathes life into Death, creating a complex narrator that drives the story with eloquence and, at times, much-needed humor.  The Book Thief is an excellent coming-of-age story, and I recommend it for young and not-so-young adults alike!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeMark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I adored this book.

Just flat-out loved it.  Mark Haddon creates a beautiful autistic boy and has him narrate a snapshot of his life.  It is written much like a student’s writing assignment.  Haddon’s character is  extremely literal and at-times heartbreakingly disconnected.  The Dog In The Night-Time is not just “a book about autism;” rather, it is a fantastic story in which the main character happens to be autistic.  There is no glossing over the sometimes frustrating reality of dealing with an autistic child, and out of this honesty comes a fresh,  poignant story.  There are not many books that I can say made me both laugh and cry, but this is one of them.

ItStephen King, It

This is probably a very odd choice after the last two.  I first read It as a curious 8-year-old in my grandmother’s den.  I didn’t understand much of it then, other than being scared out of my pants.  Upon re-reading it last year, I must confess it still terrified me.  More important than the horror, however, is the genius that is the prose of Stephen King.  It is no slasher book.  The characters are well-explored and complex, the town of Derry becomes a rich setting that only happens to be scary.  King paints the story with such lovely strokes that it takes many chapters of reading before one realizes that he is cultivating a sheer dread underneath all the storytelling.  It is a spine-tingling masterpiece, just don’t hit up any clown-filled birthday parties after reading!

Through Painted DesertsDonald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, & Beauty on the Open Road

While this is a religious book, I think any fan of descriptive writing would enjoy this memoir.  Donald Miller recounts his experience driving cross-country in a sometimes-operable Volkswagen van.  Sometimes funny, always insightful, the story in Through Painted Deserts reads like a campfire story from your Adventurous Friend.  For anyone who has ever wanted to leap out of their daily grind and just GO, I recommend this book.

Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

First published in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God chronicles the life of Janie Crawford  as she battles with issues of race, love, sexuality, and independence.  This book has an extra-special place in my heart, because I went to high school in central Florida, 20 miles from the town where the book is set.  Hurston does use colloquialisms and dialect, but it doesn’t become so distracting that you spend more time puzzling out the dialogue than actually enjoying the story.  Zora Neale Hurston was a phenomenally talented author, and I recommend any and all of her work without reservation.  After you read the book, get into the movie.  Watch the scene where Janie (Halle Berry) and Tea-Cake (Michael Ealy) make lemonade, but have a glass of ice-water handy because HONEY


Thank you for the great recommendations, Cherie!

**If you choose to purchase any of these titles using the links below, I will receive a small percentage of the sale (to be used toward site maintenance and buying more books).

Amazon | Powell’s Books


  • Tim Farnsworth

    I would agree with your rec Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. But I fear it was a one hit wonder for Haddon because his second book A Spot of Bother (Vintage) was a huge let down for me but thanks for sharing these five titles!